Memphis-Shelby County Schools graduation rate improves slightly

A woman wearing a black shirt walks in front of a desk with chairs in the background. There is a large logo on the side of the table that reads, "Memphis Shelby County Schools."
The high school graduation rate for Memphis-Shelby County Schools students rose 1.4% to 81.5 % in 2022-23, continuing a rebound from the pandemic years. MSCS still lagged behind the statewide graduation rate of 90.6%. (Andrea Morales for Chalkbeat)


The high school graduation rate for Memphis-Shelby County Schools students rose to 81.5 % in 2022-23, according to the Tennessee Department of Education, continuing a rebound from the pandemic years.

MSCS still lagged behind the statewide graduation rate of 90.6%. But the results reflected a 1.4% improvement from the previous year’s rate of 80.1%, and a big turnaround from 2019-20 and 2020-21, when the graduation rate sank to 77.7%.

Fourteen high schools — including six charter schools — posted graduation rates of 90% or higher, while 21 high schools increased their graduation rate by at least one percentage point.

“We commend our educators, students, and families for their hard work and we are proud of the gains we continue to see in our graduation rates,” interim Superintendent Toni Williams stated in an MSCS press release.

MSCS officials credited strategies such as Project Graduation, in which students can earn elective credits in the evening, as well as expanded tutoring with federal stimulus money and funding to hire graduation coaches.

TDOE officials pointed out areas of improvement across the state. Twenty-nine school districts boosted graduation rates for economically disadvantaged students by five percentage points or more, while 37 school districts improved graduation rates for students with disabilities by five percentage points or more, according to a department press release.

“Tennessee’s continuous commitment to ensuring students are successful in graduating from high school on time is demonstrated in this year’s statewide graduation rate and is a direct result of the hard work of Tennessee directors of schools, administrators, and educators have done with our families and students,” Education Commissioner Lizzette Reynolds stated in a press release.

MSCS high schools with 2023-24 grad rates of 90% or higher

Charter schools are indicated by an asterisk.

  • *City University School of Independence, 100%
  • Hollis F. Price Middle College, 100%; East High, 98%
  • *Memphis School of Excellence, 96.6%
  • *Power Center Academy High, 96.6%
  • Middle College High, 95.9%; Germantown High, 95.3%
  • *Crosstown High, 93.9%
  • *Memphis Academy of Science Engineering Middle/High, 93.3%
  • Whitehaven High, 92%
  • *Soulsville Charter School, 91.8%
  • White Station High, 91.2%
  • Ridgeway High, 90.6%
  • Central High, 90.2%

Bureau Chief Tonyaa Weathersbee oversees Chalkbeat Tennessee’s education coverage. Reach her at tweathersbee@chalkbeat.org.

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